Useful Bible Studies > 1 Kings Commentary > chapter 2

The unwise promise to Shimei

1 Kings 2:8-9

The last matter that David asked Solomon to deal with, was an unwise promise.

When David was escaping from Absalom, a man called Shimei insulted David in a particularly nasty manner (2 Samuel 16:5-13). Shimei showed that he hated David. He did not respect David as the king whom God had chosen to rule Israel. Therefore, his actions were both against David and against God.

It seems that Shimei was a powerful and important man. When David returned to rule Israel again, Shimei came to him at once. In a very impressive manner, Shimei asked David to forgive him. David was eager to please everyone on that day, so he agreed (2 Samuel 19:18-23).

Afterwards, however, David regretted it. David was sure that Shimei was a very evil man; David did not believe that Shimei had ever changed his attitudes. So David had permitted a very evil man to live - he even promised in front of God that he would not punish this man with death.

David would not act against his promise, and Solomon should not do that either. So, Solomon must act with great wisdom to deal with Shimei. Until he acted against Shimei, Shimei would be acting secretly, but with great skill, to oppose Solomon’s rule. However, it would be wrong for Solomon to order his death until Shimei was guilty of some new crime. Perhaps Shimei would show that he was not loyal to Solomon; perhaps Shimei would fail to carry out a serious promise that he made to Solomon in front of God. When such things happened, Solomon must not fail to act strictly against him.

Next part: David's death (1 Kings 2:10-12)


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